Ok, here is an early analysis of BF3 requirements based on current industry discussions.
CPU requirements for Battlefield 3 - There are lots of very competent processors available right now and it is thought that the game has been developed using an Intel quad core i7 920 processor. There is talk that the game will be able to make use of any number of multiple cores (including six cores), however, the minimum requirements are likely to be a low end dual core, probably something similar to a Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz or Athlon 64 X2 4000+.
OS requirements for Battlefield 3 - PC operating systems supported will be Vista and Win 7. The reason for this is because the game will require a minimum of Direct X 10 (which you get with Vista) and will support Direct X 11 (which you get with windows 7) as well. It's also advisable to have a 64bit operating system so you can make use of 4GB RAM and above. A 32 bit operating system has a RAM cap.
Graphics card requirements for Battlefield 3 - The awesome BF3 gameplay trailers we have been seeing this month were run on a Nvidia GTX580, one of the current daddies of graphics cards and still an expensive choice. The BF3 engine known as Frostbite 2 is capable of some amazing things and although many strong cards exist today it is often the GPU where a PC gaming system falls down. This is certainly the area which you need to get right when it comes to today's gaming requirements. At the moment our suggested optimum cards for BF3 would be in the region of an AMD 6950 or Nvidia 560Ti but you are likely to be able to tweak settings and get a solid ride with a ATI 4850 or Nvidia GTS 450. Obviously this is still speculation. However, all is not lost if you haven't got a house full of cash to spend on a GPU for BF3. It seems that Frostbite 2 is excellent at scaling and we also think that the lowest settings where you will get a bearable gameplay return will be a card around the 512MB video card, but remember it must be Direct X10 capable.
Laptop graphics card for Battlefield 3 - Remember that many laptop graphics cards share a very similar name to their desktop counterparts but often perform at only a fraction of the desktop graphics cards capability. We reckon you are likely to need similar to a Mobility Radeon 5870 maybe a 5850 to get a reasonable performance from BF3 on a laptop.
RAM requirements for Battlefield 3 - We believe it likely that you will be able to play BF3 with a minimum of 2GB RAM but reckon it is likely that 4GB will be the realistic base level of RAM required. This is likely to be one of the first games where more than 4GB of RAM may actually make a real difference to game performance.
Buying a new graphics card for Battlefield 3 - BEWARE as the naming of many of the graphics cards can be confusing. It wasn't that long ago when the all important figure a gamer was looking for when choosing a new graphics card was the graphics card RAM. For example, Nvidia GTX 8800 768MB, which is the powerhouse I bought 4 years back. The manufacturers got wise to this and now you can buy graphics cards with advertised 1.5GB which often perform far worse than my ancient 8800 card. The jump forward in graphics card capability has actually been fairly slow over the past year or two. But the card manufacturers still need us to buy their latest cards and so often rename existing ranges, adjust the prices and tweak some of the hardware for small improvements. So armed with this knowledge it is always worth exploring the previous card family group for a bargain, which often is likely to perform very similarly to a brand new range.
Lots to think about and still a lot of speculation at the moment but one thing is for sure, this is going to be one awesome game. If ever a reason to upgrade presents itself this year Battlefield 3 is surely going to be that reason. I myself cannot wait to sink my teeth into BF3, having found Bad Company a bit of a letdown when compared to the brilliance of BF2.
If all of this seems too much for you then you should know that we have all sorts of tools around the site to help you out.
Each item of hardware has its own webpage here on our site and you can compare each item of hardware against any other similar hardware to get some feeback about its performance.
Each game page has its own version of our system analysis tool so you can see if a particular rig can run a particular game.
Our best tools can be found in our Premium Members area so sign up and take a look, you wont be disappointed.